• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul.

Extracts from this document...


Bianca Revens 12H Explain Plato's and Aristotle's ideas of form, body, knowledge and soul Plato, the Greek philosopher was born in 427 BC in Athens. He was born to an aristocratic family. He eventually became a disciple of Socrates, accepting his basic philosophy and dialectical style of debate. Apart from being monumental throughout the history of philosophy, Plato is known for his exploration of the fundamental problems of natural science, political theory, metaphysics, theology and theory of knowledge. The basis of Plato's philosophy is his theory of ideas, or doctrine of forms. Aristotle was born in 384 BC in Stagira, northern Greece. He was brought up by his uncle due to the early deaths of his parents. In 367 BC Aristotle, at the age of seventeen, became a student at Plato's Academy in Athens. After being a student, Aristotle soon became a teacher at the Academy and he was to remain there for twenty years. Aristotle's ideas differed to those of Platos', and he severely criticised Plato's Theory of Forms. In this essay I will discuss Plato's and Aristotle's views and ideas of the forms, body, knowledge and soul. I will show and discuss how they differ and then evaluate whose ideas I think are more appropriate and if Aristotle's criticisms to Plato are valid. ...read more.


It is through the body that we receive our sense experiences, so that our minds are able to form our opinions and reasons. Our minds are also able to achieve and awareness of the eternal truths beyond the physical world, in the realm of ideas, or forms. All our senses are based in the body and are consequently unreliable. The soul is the realm of reason. And not being physical, the soul can survey the world of ideas. Plato also believed that the soul existed before it inhabited the body. As soon as the soul wakes up in a human body, it has forgotten all the perfect ideas. Then a process begins. As the human being discovers the various forms in the natural world, a vague recollection stirs his soul. Plato calls this yearning eros- meaning love. The soul, then, experiences a 'longing to return to its true origin'. From now on, the body and the whole sensory world is experienced as imperfect and insignificant. The soul yearns to fly home on the wings of love to the world if ideas. It longs to be freed from the chains of the body. Plato also believed that the mind and body are in opposition. The mind wants to understand ideas, to gain real knowledge of the forms; but the body is interested in sense pleasures, and it has its needs such as eating and sleeping which are constantly getting in the way of intellectual pursuits, because they keep interrupting. ...read more.


For Aristotle, knowledge is perception, therefore, if we did not perceive anything, we would not learn or understand anything, and whenever we think of anything, we must at the same time think of an idea. He believed that the natural world is the real world and that perception and sense-experience are the foundations of scientific knowledge. For Plato the reality of the world is in the forms as understood by intellect. For Aristotle, the reality of the world is in 'matter', the stuff the world is made of. Aristotle decided that all substances have two parts: material and structure- or 'matter' and 'form'. Matter and form belong to this world, not to a world bey9ond this world, like Plato's forms. Plato started with the intellect; Aristotle started with perceptions of the natural world. Plato's understanding was mathematical- dealing in concepts which can be worked out without relation to the natural world; Aristotle's understanding was scientific, based on perception, observation and investigation. Although both Plato and Aristotle are considered among the greatest philosophers, they had significant differences between their philosophies. Plato was more "other worldly" while Aristotle focused on concrete things in the world. Whilst Aristotle was intrigued by the concrete world, Plato wanted nothing to do with it. Plato believed that people know forms all along, whi8le Aristotle thought that people had the ability to abstract them from the objects themselves. Although they are quite different, it is still very interesting to read about them both. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Plato's Theory of Forms

    Each argument is connected to a function Plato has in mind for Forms to play. 'Forms are objects corresponding to Socratic definitions,' provides an objective basis for moral concepts. A definition is correct just in case it accurately describes a Form.

  2. Explain Plato's Theory of Forms

    But this causes a problem when questions arise like; 'what is good?' An example of the confusion to decide what is good and what isn't, Plato believed that slavery was good at time, but in this time we believe slavery is bad and the people didn't like and broke free from this.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of ...

    'Freedom for the pike is death for the minnows'; the liberty of some must depend on the restraint of others. In this type of society some people are held back for the betterment of others. The idea that for every person on top there must be someone below them must be accepted.

  2. Compare, contrast and evaluate Plato and Mill on the relationship between individual and society

    Mill forbids coercion and deception within the union, as he believes it is unjustified to have a direct negative impact on the utility of others (this does not involve doing something which someone else does not agree with). Mill encourages individualism and self-development or 'human flourishing' as he believes that

  1. Body soul destinction

    Cartesian duality formed by Rene Descartes, describes the mind and body as being separates and is based on the phrase " I think therefore I am." Descartes explained that feelings and sensations cannot be located physically. He accepted that everything non physical is in the mind and therefore must be distinct from the body.

  2. Explain what Plato meant by the Form of the Good?

    This problem of the forms being a remote force that we can't relate to is another problem as it works better for certain concepts such as the form of a circle is easier to relate to that the form of disease as its harder to imagine the form of disease.

  1. The body soul distinction is a myth derived from philosophers such as plato discuss.

    is of a great importance and is included in the concept of the chakra, the third eye allows us to perceive extra sensory perception, this allows us to gain knowledge without physical senses, I believe the belief of

  2. Leaving home - a corrected essay.

    without feeling obligated to his or her state, but the choice is still difficult to make. When loyalty is questioned, one becomes very pessimistic of his or her own conclusions, as loyalty is a feeling that is not reasoned, but is not irrational.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work